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First conviction based on controversial Hong Kong security law |  abroad

First conviction based on controversial Hong Kong security law | abroad

In Hong Kong, a man was sentenced for the first time today on the basis of Beijing’s strict and controversial security law in the former British crown colony. Tong Ying Kit, 24, a former bartender, was convicted of committing terrorism and inciting separatism. The conviction sets a legal precedent.

The 20-year-old drove a motorcycle that rammed three police officers on July 1, 2020, the day the National Security Act went into effect. He was waving a flag that read “Free Hong Kong” at the time. A three-judge panel ruled that the slogan “may incite others to separatist action,” which is illegal.

The two-week trial took place without a jury, in complete violation of Hong Kong’s legal tradition. The three judges are appointed by the Hong Kong Executive to rule on matters affecting national security.

More than 60 people have since been charged under the controversial security law, which has become the main tool of China’s crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. Among them is Jimmy Lai, the former president of the disbanded pro-democracy Apple Daily. Most have not been released on bail and are awaiting trial behind bars.

The punishment will be pronounced at a later time. The man faces a life sentence.

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